Chiang Mai 2022 || Elephants!

I want to fill my life with slow sunny days, trips to the market for good food, and anything that makes me feel alive. I want long walks. I want to lie down in a nice bed at night. I want to feel every single thing that’s happening around me. I want to feel the tender kind of happiness, the one where I allow myself to be soft because I’m kindest to myself.

I don’t think I’ve felt alive for a long time. Most days, it feels like I’m simply coasting through life and letting the current flow me to wherever it’s bound to take me. And for a while now, it seems that the water’s been still and I’ve been stuck. Aimless and drowning quietly.

Whenever I travel to somewhere that’s nature-themed or the outdoors. I always tend to wonder whether I’m just taking from them. I know it sounds weird. And it made so much more sense in my head. I’m not a good, kind, nice person – I hold a lot of anger and resentment and I’m also quite petty. I don’t have a lot of good thoughts, and it’s already taking a lot of my capacity just to make sure I never act on the ones that aren’t kind or productive. But most times, when I travel to somewhere remote (like Siquijor), or to a nature park (like the Elephant Retirement Park) – I tend to wonder whether I’ve just been taking from them without giving anything in return.

Being in Siquijor for more than a week, disconnected from the world, gave me a semblance of short-lived peace. It gave me long restful nights. It gave me a reason to come back home when I realized that the voices in my head are all mine. And they’re not too bad. Maybe that’s what being stuck in a jungle with barely any mobile data or internet will do to you. I took something from that place, and while I did pay my dues with money, I wonder if the act of taking that peace home and filling my cup meant taking the same amount from someone else’s cup. Ugh it’s hard to put into words.

I checked out of The Inside House today to move to K Maison Lanna Boutique Hotel. I was lowkey sad to be moving out of this nice fancy hotel. But the staff here has been so much friendlier and it seems more intimate than being at TIH, if that even makes any sense. Pailin and Tul from reception are both super chatty. I took my time eating and stuffing myself with everything I can from today’s breakfast before I checked out. Since my pickup for the Elephant Retirement Park was scheduled for noon, I left TIH a few minutes past 11 AM. By 11:30, I got myself to K Maison where Pailin checked me in immediately. Initially, I thought I’d have to leave my luggage and just check in once I got back from the elephant park. But I guess I got lucky!

Honestly, this room is beautiful and would have been such a great first room in Chiang Mai. But I felt a bit sad about checking in here since it also kind of felt like a downgrade from my previous room. Haha. Especially because the snacks in the bar now have a price tag lol. I checked out the room and went back downstairs to wait by the lobby for the pickup. Pailin stopped eating her lunch (honestly, I was so embarrassed at the fact that she even stopped eating to wait with me) and chatted with me about my plans in Chiang Mai. Because of Loi Krathong/Yee Peng, she did say that the hotel’s fully booked until the next week and she foresees that the entire week would be so hectic for the city. This was good because this is the first time since 2019 that they’ll be holding an event like this again. When I told her that I’ll be doing a sunrise hike in a few days, she took note of it and told me they’ll make sure someone was in the lobby to wait with me and to prep some packed breakfast for me. They were very nice about it and I changed my mind about being in a smaller hotel all of a sudden. My favorite thing about K Maison is how intimate it seems. While TIH had premium services and a premium experience, you can also tell that the staff tries not to be intrusive and that you’ll seldom feel them while you’re there. Which is a nice feeling as an introvert. But there’s also charm when you’re on a first-name basis with the staff and they recognize you when you go in and out of the hotel. They’re also quite accommodating too.

I was probably the third stop by the ERP staff by the time they picked me up. The rest of the people in the van were all Europeans (from Italy and Spain) who barely spoke English (literally talked to the guide using google translate). So it was such a quiet trip for me while they all chatted with each other. I was the only solo traveler in this batch, and I decided to just sleep throughout the long drive to the park. Getting there was relatively uneventful. There were 5 baby elephants (ranging from 5-10 years old). They were HUGE, but apparently, elephants are babies until they have fully grown into an adult at 25. They prepared lunch (I barely ate because I was still full) before we went and picked bananas and chopped bamboo to feed the elephants.

If you’ve ever been to Nara Park during the mating season where the deers are crazy aggressive, this is how aggressive the elephants were in trying to get food. They’re very smart so they recognize the bags used to carry their food and would place their trunks inside your bag if you are too slow. But they were smart enough to know that once you handed the bag to the guide, that meant that the bag was empty and they move on to other tourists.

I think the sad part would be the fact that this park seems to be one of the underfunded ones and I’m guessing that without the money from tours the past two years, the park struggled more. It kinda felt like for me, it was my reality for one day. But for the elephants and the people who manage the park, it’s their everyday life. We fed the elephants, gave them a mud bath, and played with them in the water. I wasn’t really sure if the elephants enjoyed it as much as I did though. I hope they did.

When I got back, I asked Tul if he can help me book a reservation at Cuisine De Garden Chiang Mai because they needed a bank deposit to confirm a reservation. I paid Tul and he transferred the money for me via Line and got me my reservation! He also pointed me to the direction of Warorot Market (walking distance – about 20 minutes from the hotel) so I can scour the market for good finds. Only to realize that this market is the same one that I went to during the bike tour! It was great because I already know which ones I wanted to try and eat again, and I went and bought so much food (and fruits, as usual). I nabbed some daifukus while I’m at it because there were so many flavors and I haven’t tried them all yet. But since I’m a bit too full with all the food, I have 3 pcs left in the fridge for another day.

Sometimes, it feels like this trip is too long but it also feels like time is passing by too quickly. I’m confused about whether I like that idea or not. I tried rebooking my flight on Saturday to an earlier time because I feel like maybe I’ve run out of things to do in Chiang Mai now that I’ve seen the elephants but the rebooking fee is now at 4000 baht. No thank you! I will once again take that noon flight and hope for the best. Hope I don’t end up regretting it because being stuck in an airport alone just makes me feel lonely. I like going on trips, but it’s always spending too much time at the airport that gives me all the feels. It’s such a transitionary place, kind of like a crossroads at times. Some people are leaving their lives forever, some are embarking on an adventure, and sometimes, it’s one of those places you never get around to visiting again. It feels like at every airport, I leave something behind for something else without knowing whether what I’m gaining is worth what I lost. And hanging out in airports with just my thoughts for company kind of makes me so much more introspective than usual.

But then again, today feels like one of those rare moments in life where you think that if one day, life falls apart, I’m just glad I had this moment. I had spent a day doing something totally new and feeling like life has a purpose, no matter how miniscule. It’s one of those days I hope I get to look fondly back when everyday life starts being dreary again, like some ray of sunshine to brighten up the day.

Chiang Mai 2022 || All the cafes & killing someone you love

I think there’s an entirely different level of heartache when you realize that someone you loved and thought you knew inside out, has always been this complete stranger. That even though you thought you knew them and that they knew you, it was all just hope that was messing with your head. It was just you negotiating relentlessly back and forth with yourself, wondering if *this* was the incident that was supposed to make you leave. Is this too petty, is this too small, is this something I should have known would be the culmination of all the things that have happened before?

I can’t listen too much to Taylor Swift’s High Infidelity because it makes me uncomfortable. The words hit too close to home, especially when she says “there’s many different ways to kill someone you love – the slowest way is never loving them enough”. There was one time in my life when I just *knew* I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing but did it anyway. I was 21 and 3 years into a relatively serious relationship. I was fresh out of uni and just started my first adult job. But even with all that, I know I don’t have any valid excuse. My needs weren’t being met, and I was being avoided by the person I was in a relationship with at the time (at this point, it was five months into a new job and he had never met up with me after work, didn’t even notice me pulling away). Some guy (try as I might, I can’t even pull up any detail on how he looked or even his name) from work had been showering me with attention. I didn’t really intend to do anything with this guy but I think on a deeper level, I enjoyed being on the receiving end of someone actually giving me the time of day when I talk about how hard it is to hold down a corporate job. And before I knew it, I was already having an emotional affair with someone I didn’t even have feelings for – it just was whatever was happening made me feel good and seen and heard and wanted. In my head, I tried to justify it with I’m not doing anything physical anyway. But I felt guilty the entire time, so I asked my ex for a break and some space. Instead of space, I was on the receiving end of a couple of grand gestures (think 3 dozen flowers, flower petals all over my room, getting serenaded at home, etc) as an apology for how he was treating me for almost half a year. We didn’t really hash out whatever has put us there but decided to get back together and begin again. The moment I got back with my ex at the time, I made sure to have a clean cut between me and this other dude. The guilt kept eating at me though. I initiated sex with my ex often (out of character), tried to spend all my weekends with him, and did anything to alleviate the guilt of spending roughly a month spilling my guts out to another dude instead of who I was in a relationship with. The second time I tried to break up with this ex, it was as I came clean about every single thing that happened. I gave a list of every interaction. I made sure to not miss a single detail of how inappropriate it had become. And while as a couple, we moved past it (stayed together for 7 more years, with zero incidents of any affairs whatsoever), a part of me will always be ashamed that I did something like that at all. I think the relationship, in part, lasted way longer than its due date, simply because sometimes, I’d be upset over something he did.. and instead of communicating how hurt I was, I’d always rein myself in with the thought that I had already done the unforgivable. So I should be extending that same grace and forgive him for the things he chose to do repeatedly. Maybe we’d been strangers to each other for a long time before we even parted ways. Looking at everything that had happened back then, through the lens of my present – I don’t think I’ll ever want to forget this feeling of guilt because I now know I’ll never be capable to take on another burden like that again.

I’ve been listening to Midnights since it was released. And for some reason, I feel like I’ve done a lot more introspection during this trip while relating to the lyricism of Taylor Swift. Today I spent it just cafe hopping (maybe I’ll detail those out later) and having dinner at one of the restaurants in Chiang Mai with a Michelin star. I think there’s a weird vibe when you just sit down in cafes with no plans at all, listening to music, and realizing how much has happened in your life. I feel like the time I’ve spent alive has passed by so quickly. But I’m 31, and that’s three decades here on earth. Parang ang dami ng nangyari sa buhay ko within the past few decades. But it also does not feel long enough to have gone through so much and so little that I’m barely scratching the surface of what life has to offer. Still, I quite enjoy having slow days and just enjoying the city without having to be checking out all the places every single time.

After eating a hearty breakfast at The Inside House (I will never stop gushing about this hotel, I tell you), I checked out my long list of cafes I’m interested in visiting. I mapped them from the furthest to my hotel/Old City/moat, to the closest. My first stop was Carp Cafe. Whoever designed this place started out with a fantastic idea, but I also feel like it could have been executed better? It still was pretty though and a nice place to take photos. But the food was not something I’d travel all that way for. Booking a bike or a car also took me about 30 minutes, and when I finally booked a bike – it was tiny!! One of those tiny ones that I felt like half of my butt was hanging out and that one hard brake and I’d be flying off it. Not the best way to die (still was not wearing a helmet on).

My next stop was somewhere I thought seemed a bit closer to the city (based on the maps), but was also slightly upland. I went to The Baristro Asian. It honestly felt like I flew to Japan with all the bamboos and just how much they managed to transport the Japanese cafe aesthetic to Chiang Mai. There were a lot of seemingly digital nomads working in the coworking space. Meanwhile, I took my time by heading to The Slow Bar where you have to take your shoes off, sit on the floor/the bar, and watch as they make your coffee/matcha. I got a matcha latte and some custard, and it was so worth the travel. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes matcha. I also realize that if I wanted to, I could totally just come back to Chiang Mai and work from there. Maybe next year, once the busy season for small brands is over (holiday season!), I could come and just hang around.

I got halfway through the novel I had been reading when I realized I had actually been there for 2 hours and decided to head over to another cafe. By this time, it was already 4 PM and this other Japanese cafe closes at 6 PM. I went to Transit 8 – which compared to The Baristro with its Kyoto/Osaka/chill vibe, is the polar opposite. It kinda feels like a small set that was made to shoot because in the area were a couple of other Japanese-themed establishments such as a bakery, an ice cream spot, and the cafe itself. The slow bar had an izakaya vibe, and the stairs leading up to the seating area on the second floor resembled a chic airport escalator. It was pretty cool. At this point though, I was already feeling a bit full so I just had a glass of a non-caffeinated drink (totally forgot what it was but it was yummy). I spent maybe more than an hour and was leaving before they closed up, but I can still see some people arriving at the cafe. So I’m not really sure if they do close at 6 PM.

I headed back to the hotel and took a walk to try and digest every cup I’d ingested while I was cafe hopping. The sucky thing about traveling alone is I don’t have anyone to share dessert with, and as much as I wanted to try a lot of food, I can only fit a small amount in my tummy.

Later this evening though, I decided to still push through and head to The Ginger Farm Kitchen which was another restaurant that had a Michelin star. I had fried rice (yummy), their recommendation (as it turns out, crispy pork – which I regret because we have lechon kawali at home haha), and a citrusy juice with ginger on it. I almost spit out my drink when I first took a sip because that ginger flavor was strong af, but the more I drank, the more I liked it haha. That was nice, but not really the best meal I’ve eaten while in Thailand.

I walked around One Nimman and checked out all the thrift stores although I didn’t manage to buy anything. But today is such a nice chill day, weird introspection into past relationships aside. Excited to finally see the elephants tomorrow!

Chiang Mai 2022 || Another biking accident lol

The funny thing about this is I wasn’t even riding the bike when I got into a biking accident, and now I’m sitting in my hotel room with a plastic bag of ice I alternate between my knee and my arm hahaha.

I started the day with The Inside House breakfast. The staff told me to order as much as I wanted from the menu. I initially just got coffee and juice, and they asked if I wanted to go for a smoothie as well. Of course, I said yes. When the food menu came out, I got the Lanna Breakfast set (lots of interesting items on the menu!), and they asked if I wanted to have a salad with it too. I just went along with whatever she was recommending and.. oh gosh, I got so many things. I managed to fill the entire dining table with food I wasn’t sure how to finish. One of the things my mom insisted on while we were growing up was that we are only allowed to take food that we can finish. At one point in time, I wasn’t allowed to leave the dining table if the food I put on my plate was unfinished. My parents grew up poor and food was scarce, and my mom hated the idea of wasting food.

Everything tasted yummy, especially the chocolate croissant in the bread basket! I tried to stuff myself with everything and finish all of the dishes on my table but had to eventually ask if I can take some of them up to my room. They agreed! After breakfast, I spent some time in the tub before I headed out for my random photo walk. My thing about solo travel is – I’m shit at taking photos and I rarely have good photos taken of me. I’ve been traveling solo since I was 22. And sometimes I wish I had more to show for it. A lot of times, I just get so in the moment that I forget to take photos or clips of them. While that’s nice, our memories aren’t perfect and years down the line, I can’t conjure those visuals in my head anymore. I’d remember what happened but I’d also have to confirm if it actually did happen without having tangible proof that it did. Do you get what I mean? Haha

Boom and Not met up with me at McDonald’s Tha Pae gate. They’re a sibling duo who does photo walks in Chiang Mai. We spent some time walking around Tha Pae (East Gate) which apparently was the most recent one to be renovated/reconstructed. There were bird feeders there that you can pay to chuck bird seeds at you so that the birds fly at you conveniently for photos/videos. The video they got of me was nice but I get so insecure about my tummy that it’s probably never going to see the light of day. Our next stop was a cafe where I got really good iced orange espresso. It was very hot when I was there which was a good thing because I was worried it would be the rainy season. Last month, it rained so hard in Chiang Mai that one of the oldest pagodas crumbled down. Our third stop was Mae Kha Canal (Boom made sure to tell me to drop by at night because it would look nicer) – it was this canal lined by local souvenir shops, small cafes, and bars. Since we went early, the place was practically empty. But it looked nice with all the decor for the festival. Boom said that they’ll probably hold their own Yee Peng in the canal and oh my gosh, that would be such a sight to see.

We also went to one of the temples (my thing with temples is that beautiful as they may be – most of the time when you’ve been to one, you’ve been to all of them) to take more photos. I personally am not the biggest fan of taking photos in temples, if I’m being honest. I’m agnostic so I don’t really participate in a lot of religious activities unless I have to (baptisms, weddings, funeral rites etc), but I feel like if a building is an active place of worship, the best thing we can do is only take photos when it’s not in use. It makes me uncomfortable to be snapping photos while anyone is practicing their religion or praying – if that makes any sense. Because I used to be a devout Catholic and I prayed a lot, especially when my mom was sick, and that would suck if I was going through all those things and yet someone was out there, not understanding that I needed some peace to air my prayers.

Our last stop was at One Nimman. We had some ice cream and walked around. There were tons of Halloween decor around and Boom told me that if I wanted to party, this would be the best place to go. She did mention some other local places (there’s a spot within the Old City that was just all bars), but she said this would be the least overwhelming place for me since the crowd would be less dense there. Given that the Itaewon incident had just happened, I was wary of going into crowds, especially one for a Halloween celebration. We parted ways at One Nimman, although they invited me to lunch. However, I saw some perfume shops and wanted to check those out, and had to decline.

When I got back to the hotel, I passed by the hotel restaurant and saw couples having afternoon tea! I went back to my room to charge my phone and went down to try out the complimentary service. I thought it would just be a pot of tea and a few snacks, but oh my gosh, it was A LOT. I didn’t even need to eat lunch that day because I got so full of all the pastries and that pot of tea that I consumed. They even asked if I wanted more when I clearly was stuffed already. It was crazy!! Ugh I love this hotel and I’m already dreading having to leave.

It took me more than an hour of chill staring into space to daydream (because my phone was back in my room) while munching on all the pastries. When I got back to my room, I changed into another set of clothes (one I could bike in) and headed off to Trailhead for the city biking tour. Now I wouldn’t be able to name all the spots we biked in, but oh god, I was nervous. I’ve mentioned before that Chiang Mai reminded me greatly of Ayuttaya and Siem Reap. The old city looks similar to the moat, the rivers dividing the streets and whatnot. I did the one-day biking tour for Ayuttaya pre-pandemic and found it manageable (not a lot of cars or motorbikes), so when the vibe was similar, I thought it would just be as easy. It was not. There were so much more cars and a lot more pedestrians. I’ve known how to bike since I was in kindergarten (thanks to the pink Sailor Moon bike that my parents bought me, and which my dad took the training wheels off shortly after I got it for Christmas), and I still own a city bike until now. I’m comfortable with biking. But aside from the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road, I was simply not used to having to bike in such a densely populated area. I was terrified of either getting hit by another vehicle or by getting myself into an accident.

And because I got the evening bike tour, it was harder to see. One of the stops we eventually ended up at was the less popular entrance of Mae Khan. And Boom was right. It really was a sight to see at night with all the lights, the people, and the decor on the water. We parked our bikes and walked around, spotted a couple of marijuana plants by the side of the road (very legal in Thailand), and ate all the snacks they were selling. Because there were too many people on the narrow roads by the canal, we had to walk with our bikes in tow. At the end of the canal, as I was pushing my bike up this slope (entering the highway/road), my pants got caught in the bike’s chains for some reason.. which caused me to trip where I ended up sprawled in the ground with the bike crashing on me. Ugh gravity.

I shrugged it off and said I was fine (I truly wasn’t), and soldiered on for the rest of the tour. Which at that point, I really just wanted to end and head back to my hotel. It continued on for a few more hours. Our last stop was Warorot Market where she had me try out different snacks before heading to a rooftop cafe where we watched Corpse Bride on spotty internet (the movie kept lagging) and we biked back to Trailhead to return the bikes.

Overall, it was truly a nice experience. Even if I got back with a badly wounded knee and I’m sure, another bruise on my arm (I already had a huge spot of red on my arm, this is gonna look awful for the rest of my trip). I was asking the hotel staff if they can send me a cold compress or an icepack, and they couldn’t seem to understand what for. So I just asked them for some ice and I emptied out a pack of face masks to use the plastic for my cold compress. One of the worst parts was I was wearing boob tape instead of a bra the entire day, and when I was about to wash my exhausted body off the day’s grime, some bits of my skin got ripped off when I took off the tape. It looks nasty – like I got a few hickeys on my chest, except it’s red because it’s a wound and I didn’t have any fun getting them and they are surely going to leave a wound. Ouch. I’m tired and lowkey in pain. But it does make for a good story that I can just laugh about in the future lol.

Good night.

Chiang Mai 2022 || Delayed flights and sweet nothings

I’m still reeling from today’s crazy delayed flight to Chiang Mai.

I had a 1 PM flight to Chiang Mai via Thai Airways/Thai Smile, which got rescheduled multiple times. Initially, I planned to take the 12-hour train ride to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. I’ve read tons of reviews about how the ride isn’t that bad and if you plan your trip well, you save money by not having to check into a hotel for one night. However, I’ve done the entire journey from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh by train (it’s a 32-hour train ride split into multiple spots) and it wasn’t the best experience of my life – which is why I opted to book a one-hour flight instead. It was pretty cheap too! I got it for $25 which I think is a steal given that it’s their flag carrier airline.

A few days before my flight, I got an email that said my flight was rescheduled to maybe 15-30 mins later than the flight I had booked. Hey, that’s not that bad. I timed my flight to get to Chiang Mai around 3 PM and booked a food tour that starts at 5 PM. I used google maps to find out how far my hotel is from the airport and it was not that far at all (30-ish minutes at peak hours). I didn’t want to rush so early in the morning – and with the unpredictable Bangkok traffic, I was better off taking a flight past noon.

I left the hotel around 10 AM, expecting to get stuck in traffic for about 2 hours but voila, the Bangkok traffic gods deemed me worthy and I got to the airport in 45 minutes. Check-in was a breeze. There were even barely any people at the security gate. I had around 2 hours to burn so I went to find myself some lunch, then a chair to sit in until it was time for boarding.

When I checked my boarding pass, my flight was now scheduled for 2 PM. Alright. Cutting it a bit close, but still manageable. I went down to the boarding gate around 1:30 to line up, only to find that still, everyone on my flight was still seated. No announcements. Nothing. It was then that I knew I had to ask if I can reschedule my food tour to whatever available date they had while I’m in Chiang Mai. That was a good call too because the plane ended up leaving past 4 PM and I got to my hotel at almost 6 PM.

The entire time I was stuck at the boarding gate (you go past another checkpoint when going to the boarding gate), I was pissed and just wanted to rebook my flight back to Bangkok to the first flight out of Chiang Mai on the off chance that my flight gets delayed again. I only have to spend 25 baht to change my flight, but somehow, my payment won’t push through the payment portal. Ugh. Frustration!!

On my nth loop of Midnights album, I always skip over Sweet Nothing because I was already frustrated as fuck and I’ll never forget hearing that song for the first time, and having a visceral reaction to it. It was probably the most straightforward song in the entire album with no overwhelming production, BUT THE LYRICS. The only song in the album that made me cry at first listen. Joe Alwyn literally says “what a mind”, as if fascinated by the things that go through Taylor’s mind??? On the way home??? And it happens all the time??? Can’t relate. I’ve never met anyone who has made me feel like loving me was easy. Or that my mind is a good place. And after going through so much therapy to unlearn and gain back my self-esteem after my previous relationship, I don’t know how I’ll ever get to a point or if I’ll meet anyone who’ll never make me feel like I’m too much and not enough at the same time. But that’s irrelevant lol.

I checked in to The Inside House where there is no price list at the mini bar because everything is free!! I went and munched on all the snacks and drank all the soda before I went on my merry way. This room is actually quite lovely – so much better than where I stayed in Bangkok, that’s for sure. I was planning on staying here for my last few days in Chiang Mai but it was already fully booked. This hotel is a 5-star hotel – and so far, that rating is well deserved. This room even got an outdoor bathtub (with curtains for privacy) which I’ll probably use every single day while I’m here. My favorite bathroom aesthetic is marble and gold, so this was one of the things that drew me into booking the hotel. The staff was pretty helpful and made sure I knew how to get to the Sunday Night Market – their version of Chatuchak, only so much colder and less dense. I personally enjoyed this night market more than Chatuchak Night Market lol.

I went and grabbed a shit ton of food that I’m working on finishing right now while I write this. But today’s been pretty uneventful so I guess we’ll end this here.

Life Lately || panganay problems

My sister graduated this year and got Latin honors for her degree (also an honors program). She’s also starting her first job in a few weeks – and in her job interviews, whenever asked about challenges/accomplishments outside of school, she would always use my brand as her answer lol.

My mom got sick and died early on, so I’ve mostly navigated through my adult life with no one to guide me. I got to where I am now, mostly through experience. I made my mistakes and learned a few things on the way which I passed on. Since mom got sick, I lost my safety net. With her around, I know I can fail because whatever I do and even if I break, someone’s going to be there to unconditionally pick up the pieces. And for a long time after her diagnosis, I felt completely alone. I knew my responsibilities and I know I can’t ever relax with them because I now have two people relying on me, and I had no one that made me feel like they were stable enough that I can rely on them. Both my siblings were young and they needed to have someone to be there to pick up their pieces. I knew I didn’t have that anymore in anyone, and the best I could do was be their safety net.

My family isn’t big on affection (I bet we all scored zero on words of affirmation as a love language) and the best way I show my love is by making someone’s life a little bit easier (sometimes at my expense, but that’s an entirely different conversation – preferably with a therapist). And while I’m happy at the fact that my sister can focus more on being her amazing self (do not tell her I said that) with a further starting point than I did, I’m also a little bit jealous that I didn’t get that. I know it’s a valid feeling and I know it’s no one’s fault. And life has gotten better (with time and therapy), but sometimes, these feelings would pop up and it’s hard not to feel guilty about it.

I guess it’s also because I’ve recently been working with a lawyer to do some legal stuff for the business, I just got a loan, my credit limit has kept up with inflation and increased by a significant amount, and I’ve been doing all these adult things. At 21, it felt like I had to sit in the driver’s seat before I even knew how to drive but I can’t crash and burn because I got passengers. The last passenger just got off (my sister – who funnily enough was in the car when I was literally taking actual driving lessons lol), and I find that I’ve gotten comfortable with driving and I can now relax my hold on the stirring wheel. I was just about to get to the nearest exit so I can slow down and explore more places, and maybe find a stop where I can get off the car I’d been driving nonstop for years and rest for a bit. Walk around and take in the sights. Instead, the vehicle turned into something so much bigger, that one wrong turn and I would start a pileup – and now I have no choice but to keep driving down the same path while being completely terrified of driving again. No one’s around to take the wheel when I’m tired or sick or restless or anxious. Just me, driving a truck on the seemingly endless expressway – when all I wanted was to drive down a scenic route in a small compact car at minimum speed limit.

Life Lately || career crisis averted

I’ve just had the weirdest/shittiest/best/most interesting day I’ve had so far and honestly, I’m extra grateful for it.

You know how it goes, on a weird career funk yada yada yada – so I went on a job interview today that I got invited to after I responded to a recruiter on Linkedin. I checked the role description she sent my way and admittedly, I knew from the get-go that I would need a wider-than-usual learning curve if I ever got this role. There were skills that were needed for the role that I am not particularly skilled in but heck, I learn best by trial by fire. I’ve proven to myself that I’m quite adaptable so I still went for it. And to be frank (I’ve done this my entire career HAHA), I like applying for positions I know are a significant jump from my current position and using it as interview practice. These interviews are my warm-up before I send in my CV to openings that I feel are a better fit. For example, before I applied for my current job, I went ahead and applied for two different management positions (knowing I’d get ask relatively harder questions), before I went in for the interview for this one. I’ve always seen it as a win-win situation – if I get the job, then I get to grow in another role. But if I don’t, it’s totally fine too because I knew I wasn’t ready for it yet.

During the preliminary interview with the recruiter, I made it abundantly clear that I lean more towards the business side of tech rather than technical. I remember having to repeat this because I studied the opening and knew I was reaching. Not gonna lie, I kinda expected never to hear from her again. But I did. So I went.

I left the house 2 hours before the interview. I was initially going to leave earlier than that but I had an issue with my clothes that I had to change just before I left.

And then the car I was in got into a minor accident because another vehicle suddenly cut us off. It wasn’t anything serious but oh man, was I glad that I use the seat belt even when I’m on the backseat.

I still got to the building 51 minutes before the interview (even with all that happening). I needed a drink and hanged out at the Starbucks across the street. I like to arrive to interviews 15 minutes before my appointment. So I left the cafe 20 minutes before my schedule.

While crossing the street, the FUCKING SOLE OF MY RIGHT SHOE FLEW OFF. I only had this thin cloth as a barrier between MY FOOT AND THE CONCRETE ROAD.

So I thought “ok lang to, I can just buy new shoes AFTER the interview” and kept on walking. But then the strap of my LEFT SHOE DROPPED because the sole was also loose.

And I had to sprint to the adjacent mall to get a new pair of shoes while the pair on my feet was falling apart piece by piece. I had to purchase an overpriced pair (it was a posh mall with mostly designer brands) – an unplanned expensive shoe purchase that I still have buyer’s remorse over. At that point, I was just done with this interview. I wanted to get it over with and just wanted to go home HAHA.

On the car ride back, I suddenly realized that I’d never had an eventful day in such a long time. During the interview, I was less focused on selling myself and my skills. I answered all the questions truthfully and asked those “intrusive thought” questions I rarely ask because I kinda took it as a sign from the universe that this job is probably not for me, so what’s the harm in asking. The questions I was asked and I asked during the interview gave me a new perspective on things I still have to learn, on readings I was planning to do when I got home.. and honestly, I’ve never felt more exhilarated in the past few months.

Maybe it’s the outside air. It’s the broken shoes. But this weird blip this year is going to be such a funny story. I feel so much more at ease now and less antsy about my career. And any upcoming interviews headed my way can only be better than what happened today. 🙂

Life Lately || career crisis

I’ve never really seen my job as part of my identity. To me, it’s just something I do for 8 hours per day for money. While there have been countless times where I quite enjoy what I do, I’ve just never been someone who aimed to climb the corporate ladder. Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Not having an emotional attachment to my job has allowed me to be objective and productive. There was even a time where my job was a break from my chaotic personal life. 8 hours of only thinking about the work tasks I need to accomplish or deadlines I make sure I meet.

I guess this feeling of detachment from my job has been exacerbated by the pandemic. I lost my job at the peak of it – which further hammered in the fact that I can work so hard and lose a job within a 15-minute zoom call. And I feel like the longer the threat of potentially dying due to a virus is around, the less I feel like it’s worth it.

Recently, I’ve been responding to every single Linkedin messages I get for any job opening. Am I actively looking? Maybe not. But maybe I’m hoping that a new job would get me out of this weird funk I’ve been. I want to open my work laptop and feel excited for a new work day – but most days, I spend it asking myself if I’m even qualified to be doing what I do. And the thing with all these interviews is they always ask the classic question of why I’m exploring. I usually would give a template answer of looking for new challenges or growth.

But I lay here at midnight and wonder what’s the point of even doing so. What am I even looking forward to? What am I working so hard for? I used to enjoy studying and learning new things, but I’m slowly losing the drive to do so.

Life Lately || X-life crisis

Not gonna call it mid-life because I don’t plan on dying at 62. But quarter-life doesn’t work because unless science progresses fast enough, I feel like I won’t enjoy living more than a hundred years.

But I digress.

For most small businesses, ber months are the worst time to order anything. I made that mistake when I was starting out in 2020. Did not learn my lesson last year. And it’s 2022 – and the raw materials I need for my next release are still on a ship en route to Manila. Plus, I started on the other tasks too late and now have to wonder if I’ll meet my timeline. Sigh.

I’ve never had patience as one of my virtues. All this waiting around has made me antsy. It doesn’t help that my current workload isn’t overwhelming that I can’t even distract myself with it.

I went back to rollerskating just to take my mind off things though. But here’s where I am right now and I just want to look back someday in the future and be able to laugh off how crazy I was being right at this exact moment.

In the fit of this weird crisis, I got myself something to pay off for the next few years (lol) to keep having something to look forward to (at least until 2028, hoping I live long enough to enjoy it). Only because I realized that I can’t even travel to my favorite places because all I have are expired visas that I didn’t even get to maximize (Schengen, South Korea, and Japan!) – thanks to the pandemic and the financial aspect of traveling during a pandemic (airfare is crazy, stays at hotels have skyrocketed, all the travel requirements.. can you believe that I was able to nab roundtrip business class tickets for my canceled 2020 Europe trip for only $1100~??? definitely can’t do that now ugh).

I genuinely hold this belief that I’m fated to win the lottery one day. Once I do, I am definitely doing something to get another passport (maybe buy one – I heard you can do that?).

Life Lately || Life at 31

It’s 10:32 PM on a Sunday and I’m working (on something for my day job). If you asked me at 21 where I thought I’d be in life at this exact moment, I would have given an answer that’s far from my current life. And maybe in a parallel universe, that answer would have been true. But in this one, I’m single and child-free. I’m in the 30% income tax bracket (which needs to be maintained by working weekends). Heck, I even have a cat now who I absolutely adore (which came as a surprise, even to me). It’s been 2 weeks since I turned 31, and if I’m being honest, I still feel like I’m in my 20s lol.

Unlike last year, there was not a lot of pressure that came with turning 31. I guess because I realized when I hit 30 that … life is generally the same. Nothing changed when I turned 30. I’m still me. I didn’t shrivel up and die. And if I live up to a hundred, I’m only 30% of the way. That’s not even halfway done. Or if I base my life expectancy on my mom, then I’m past halfway on my journey to the grave and there’s really no sense in worrying too much. I would instead savor each day while I can.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever couple up with someone (anyone!) again. And I wonder if there’s something wrong with me based on the fact that my ex seems happy in his current relationship (I don’t keep track but we, unfortunately, have mutual friends who post him and his new girlfriend on their ig stories and it’s weird to see his face, and not recognize this person at all – the same way that I don’t recognize the girl in old photos of the two of us together – eh life is weird that way), or the dudes I almost dated seriously while in my healing phase are all coupled up now.

The wondering doesn’t feel like yearning, thank god. It’s just something I’m genuinely curious about. Just one of those things that pop into my mind when I suddenly zone out in the middle of a thought (like now). It’s hard to let people in when I’ve built a life I truly love – because what else can they add to it?

My best friends treat me so well. Gin gifted me Chanel for my 30th and would plan trips for my birthday. Mao would treat me to a 5-digit degustation dinner just because, and would even drive to Cavite from Makati to pick me up (and wouldn’t even ask to split gas/toll even if I insisted). Alex drove from Alabang to BGC to bring me an electric fan because it’s sweltering. Our house turns into a flower/gift shop on my birthday and on valentines day – it’s crazy. I did my first pop-up for sad girl scents and all my friends came to either help man the booth or show me support.

I treat myself well. I get myself flowers every month (I’ve bought more for myself 2 years into being single, than the 10 years I was in a relationship with one person). I go to therapy. I’ve learned how to live with myself.

I have never met a single man who can match that energy. So it’s not really that I’m not that open to dating, it’s just no one has made me feel like it’s not a waste of time and effort. At this point in my life, I think I’ve handled as much heartbreak as I possibly can and would rather live out the rest of my life uneventfully.

The only reason I even started asking myself this is because for some reason, there are a couple of dudes who are trying to get into my life (who all appeared out of the blue at roughly the same time – timing is weird lol).. and so far, I’m just not impressed nor attracted to anyone. They’re not bad nor unlikeable, I just don’t think any of them fit my life nor do I fit in theirs. I guess having my standards and boundaries all written down (and constantly refined – something I picked up from a therapist) helped me recognize what I like and don’t like. And I’m no longer in the business of trying to force things that aren’t meant for me.

Also – maybe this ties in with me having creative block. My emotions are directly proportional to my creative output. The sadder I am, the more productive I get. I’m coming up with a blank, which is good for my mental health but bad for business HAHA. I have so many plans for the business, the new brand I’m building, and my other endeavors. But I’m quite comfortable that maybe I’ve gotten too comfortable.. and I’m producing nothing. Ugh. Hope that changes soon.

Anyway, zone out done. Back to work for me.